Tokyo Motor Show 2015 Part 1 - The JDM

Auto Shows are a great deal.  They tend to attract vast variety of visitors ranging from potential customers, families with curious kids, industry experts and journalists from across the world.

But like many things in this country, Tokyo Motor Show comes with a substantial hick-up: it's being held only once every two years, which makes us, automotive enthusiasts across the very nation that gave us the Skylines,RX-7's and Supra's twice as hungry.

For fans of JDM sports cars, however, the main event will be the Autosalon in January, since largest Japanese car makers have abandoned the idea of making fun cars for enthusiasts.

This may seem like a bold statement, but when you go to bi-annual Motor Show expecting a Supra and seeing this, it only could mean that making interesting cars is no longer in Toyota's sphere of interest.  I mean just look at it, the only place where it looked acceptable was next to the new Prius, which sits in the hideous league of its own.  As a matter of fact, the new Prius is so proportionally challenged that I had to make a decision to preclude its appearance on this web page.

Meanwhile Toyota made a hot rod... well, sort of.

Anything interesting from worlds largest car manufacturer seems to be wearing a Lexus badge, including this LF-FC flagship concept, powered by fuel cell and taking some of the best design clues from likes of Maserati or BMW 6 series.

From the great manufacturer that brought us the Juke, I present: Nissan Gripz Concept. Perhaps this is Nissan's vision of the overpopulated small cross-over market.

Die-hard motoring fans have hard time forgiving Nissan for ditching the gorgeous IDX concept that appeared at 2013 Motor Show (Don't get me started on the Eu Rouge!!!), to which Nissan added insult to injury by using the same naming concept and giving us... another hatchback - the IDS.

Of course there was no sign of new Skyline (Infiniti Q60) or Z car prototype.  They did bring the Nismo R35 GTR, but their supercar car is now 8 years old.  It is time to move on.

Fair enough... this - whatever this may be, could be the replacement.  Originally designed as a concept car for a video game, the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo is now a proper prototype.

When it comes to Gran Turismo, perhaps I am not the only one who prefers slapping some TE37's and exhaust on an S15 and throwing it around Tsukuba Circuit.  Just like major JDM car manufactures the game seems to be carried away with separating itself from reality that pure driving pleasure.

So, all the same from Subaru, perhaps?

 Well, after finding this gorgeous EJ20 up front,

 3 pedals in the middle,

and absolutely badass WRX STI S207 NBR Challenge sitting on 19 inch BBS wheels and sporting a massive wing in the back, I conclude that not all is lost.  Above all, this is production ready, limited to 400 units to be sold only in Japan.  I want one!

But not as much as I want one of these....The new NSX has been the target of automotive purists since the first sketch and rumor of hybrid drive train appeared on the internet.

Listen if a Japanese car company is going to release its flagship sports car with an NA V6 and pop-up head lights... in 2016... Not a chance.  Japanese car industry is all about cutting edge technology, and innovation, (apart from Subaru, who are getting it oh so right) it is never about "been there done that".  so while I cringe at a sight of a Prius or CRV, the NSX is exactly the direction where the industry should be heading.

The fans are also overlooking the fact that the most often heard complaint about the original NSX - i.e. lack of power is no longer the case, as the new NSX combines turbocharged V6 with electric motor to produce a whooping 550HP.  Eco has never been this good.

With all that being said, Honda did not forget about joys of pure driving as this monster turbocharged Civic Type R is all but production ready.  Am I about to turn into Honda fan-boy? Well, if they keep making cars like this - sign me up!

As I walked through the last exhibition hall of the Motor Show it became evident that while Japan's largest manufacturers gave up on making cars for enthusiasts, Mazda and Honda decided to target that group exclusively. 

Mazda's theme of making efficient, practical, yet good looking and down right "cool" cars seems to be paying off.  The new Koeru concept is the epitome of Mazda's design language and above mentioned qualities,

while the Mazda RX Vision concept is nothing short of a reason why Tokyo Motor Show was worth the visit. 

There is a long road ahead for Mazda to make this concept a reality.  Die hard fans are praying for a new Rotary engine while the rest of the world, just wants something cool, affordable and quick to come out of the JDM world as it happened during the golden days of the 90's.  Will we see the rotary engine sports car dominate the mountain roads again? Remains to be seen, but I am holding my breath for this one.

I am not a fan of bikes, I never was, and I never will be, so it was by absolute chance that I ended up in Yamaha's booth, and since I did take my chance, I seem to have hit the jack-pot.  I have never seen anything so clean and stunning looking come out from JDM design teams, but there is a good reason for this; because it didn't.  The design concept was crafted by Gordon Murray - the man behind the shape of the P1

Yamaha, however wasted no time and went through every part of the car to make it presentable as if it was production ready.

Yamaha did rely on their motorcycle building experience to craft this vehicle, as many of the parts such as these brakes, or exhaust system shown below come straight from a superbike.

The reason why this is possible, however is that the car only weights 750 kilograms, which is less than the weight of some engines.  This is a truly amazing prototype and it attracted a tremendous amount of attention from foreign and domestic press.  We only hope that Yamaha will find the capacity and financial resources to build and distribute this car.

So there we have it, these are the more interesting cars and concepts that were presented to us by the Japanese brands at 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

In Part 2 we will return with some of the exciting imports, until then don't forget to follow, share, and comment




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